Archive for September, 2005

Pitfall in Styling Buttons with CSS

Posted on the September 18th, 2005 under Uncategorized by

Just based on the demo I did with AJAX in KEWL.NextGen I getting the feeling that styling buttons with CSS is a bad idea, or at least until there is a workaround.

Have a look at this picture, and try and guess what is wrong (Submit Button is the clue)

Answer:

The submit button is actually disabled (through AJAX) but its difficult to tell that. Disabled buttons are not through CSS but by adding an additional parameter to the input, namely ‘disabled’.

Is it possible to style a ‘disabled’ button? I’ll look into this, but with a consideration and an eyebrow when styling buttons.

AJAX within KEWL.NextGen

Posted on the September 18th, 2005 under Uncategorized by

Last week I committed a demo of how AJAX could be used within KEWL.NextGen to improve the interactivity and usability. The demo is available at: http://kngforge.uwc.ac.za/kng_unstable/index.php?module=ajaxdemo&action=advanced

Its exciting what AJAX could do. The demo allows a user to enter a username and get immediate feedback on whether the username has been taken already. For demo purposes, it uses onKeyUp not onBlur, so it goes per character entered. Integrated into registration, onBlur would be the better choice.

Lets hope it will get used more often, particularly since it works within the framework. Just to add, its based on XAJAX – a PHP class for generating AJAX.

Getting Youth involved in MSAs

Posted on the September 18th, 2005 under Uncategorized by

This is a summary of Ashiq Allie’s recent khutbah at UWC. Ashiq Allie is the chairperson of the Muslim Students Association of the Cape (MSAC).

According to Ashiq, when youth are involved in activities, the result is better organisations in the future because of the skills they have acquired.

Reasons to get involved with an MSA:

  1. Spiritual growth as spin-offs for being in a group dedicated to ‘promoting the good, forbidding the bad’ – keeps you away from wrong activities.
  2. Skills and Contacts acquired due to involvement in activities
  3. Making use of ones youthfulness – quoting people who regret not having done more in the youth. Also the hadith that a youth who spent his life in obedience to Allah is one of the seven people to be given shade by Allah.
  4. Rewards and barakah (blessings) that one receives in this world and the hereafter.

Icons for Filetypes

Posted on the September 14th, 2005 under Uncategorized by

It’s nice and useful to add icons to indicate filetype, but often the search for icons becomes tedious and boring. If only someone had made a collection of icons for all various types of files.

I was on the verge of doing that till I came across this site. Has 962 icons in 16×16 size gif format. http://extranet.alvar.com/w2g/images/icons/. Came across this site whilst searching for a MS Project icon.

Yahoo to increase use of DHTML, probably AJAX as well

Posted on the September 14th, 2005 under Uncategorized by

Yahoo ‘leapfrogs’ rivals with e-mail offering – http://www.busrep.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=2876021

An interesting article on the Business Report website. Whereas Gmail forced everyone to reconsider email space last year, this year the battle is for better interactive features, user interface. (Perhaps it could be arguedGoogle sparked this too with Gmail’s AJAX capability.)

Bottom line: Technologies such as DHTML and AJAX will have greater use in the future of web applications. It seems to be steam-rolling, not crawling, its not a question of why but how. Exciting stuff!

Mbeki congratulates Mubarak – We all despair

Posted on the September 14th, 2005 under Uncategorized by

Mbeki sends warm wishes to victorious Mubarak reads the article on IOL.

Probably a diplomatic thing to do, but I wonder how many people share this sentiment. The ‘pharoah’ has another six years, and for all the ‘democratic initiatives’, I doubt the torture den called Lazoughly Square will vanish soon.

Mbeki, Mubarak, … um … Mugabe – not gonna go down that line ๐Ÿ˜‰

DB Tree Class at PHP Classes

Posted on the September 2nd, 2005 under Uncategorized by

Developers often selflessly contribute code to PHP Classes without getting any recognition at all. For many it is just their ‘contribution’. For code that is useful or excellent, it becomes our duty as users to acknowledge this.

In this regard, I wish to highlight the recent contribution by Kuzma Feskov. His class DB Tree offers an OOP approach to SQL tree using the Modified Pre-order Traversal method.

To quote from the description provided:

It provides (a) means to initialize the record tree, insert record nodes in specific tree positions, retrieve node and parent records, change position of nodes and delete record nodes.

I had hoped to write a class like this, but it seems he beat me to it. Nonetheless, he can rest assured of my vote. A definite must for anyone that works with SQL Trees in PHP.

Available at: http://www.phpclasses.org/browse/package/2547.html

Morae Usability Program

Posted on the September 2nd, 2005 under Uncategorized by

At UWC, we recently purchased the Morae usability program from Techsmith, and after a few hiccups, I’m delighted with the results – really worth the investment. As always, it is not the program, but the way it is used in an organisation that makes the difference.

Initially we were not after Morae as a usability suite. Rather we found it frustrating to note details during user testing, often overlooking details. Morae suits our purpose for the recording and playback that it offers us. The statistics and additional data it captures is a mere bonus.

Today I had a trial run with one of the documentation guys, and discovered more usability issues that need to be addressed. In the end, we’d be encouraged to do more testing for two main reasons:

  1. We had to convince the team on the need to get Morae in the first place. Now that we have it, we need to make maximum use of it.
  2. It’s so damn easy. Just setup and run. You don’t even need to give maximum attention. Just play the recordings over and over till you blue in the face.

Qualms with Morae. I like to annotate the video with text on the video, and this is easier done in Camtasia Studio than Morae – pity. Had Morae incorporated this feature, it would have been so much easier. Nonetheless, Techsmith has one happy customer here.

Opera Browser giving away serials

Posted on the September 2nd, 2005 under Uncategorized by

In case you missed it, the Opera Browser is celebrating 10 years, and giving away registration serial numbers for free. Just register on their site.

http://my.opera.com/community/party/reg.dml

Happy Birthday Opera, and thanks for giving us this present ๐Ÿ˜‰